EAST BATON ROUGE VIOLENT CRIMES UNIT

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1 Submission for the 2011 Herman Goldstein Award for Excellence in Problem-Oriented Policing Colonel Michael D. Edmonson, Superintendent, Office of State Police Alfred C. Mondrick, Chief of Police, City of Baton Rouge, Louisiana Sid J. Gautreaux, Sheriff, Parish of East Baton Rouge, Louisiana Honorable Hillar C. Moore, III, District Attorney for the 19th Judicial District of Louisiana Milton Bonaventure, Resident Agent-in-Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Baton Rouge, Louisiana Field Office Sid Newman, Executive Director, Crime Stoppers of Baton Rouge, Inc.

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Summary 3 Program Description 4-13 Scanning 4-5 Analysis 5-6 Response 6-12 Assessment Agency and Officer Information 14 Mission Statement 15 List of Appendices 16 Appendices

3 Summary The East Baton Rouge Violent Crimes Unit (EBR-VCU) is a collaborative effort between the Louisiana State Police, Baton Rouge Police Department, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff s Office, District Attorney for the 19 th Judicial District of Louisiana, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, and Crime Stoppers of Baton Rouge, Inc. to successfully investigate, apprehend, and prosecute violent crime offenders, particularly those committing homicides, in the City of Baton Rouge and the Parish of East Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The goal of the EBR-VCU is to pool resources and information and work collaboratively on a united front to effectively combat violent crime in the Baton Rouge area and increase case clearance rates. The EBR-VCU accomplishes this goal through open communication and rapid dissemination of information between the partnering agencies, factors which are crucial for investigative success. Co-location of investigators at Louisiana State Police Headquarters in Baton Rouge enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of communication and information sharing. The creation of a long-term violent crimes unit comprised of partnering agencies has brought about significant structural changes for the agencies involved, and most importantly, a significant change in the manner in which violent criminals are pursued by law enforcement in the Baton Rouge area. A Blueprint for Success In April 2010, federal, state, and local law enforcement in the Baton Rouge area formed a task force to work collaboratively in joint investigations of several murders in the Parish of East Baton Rouge. Investigators from the Baton Rouge Police Department, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff s Office, Louisiana State Police, District Attorney for the 19th Judicial District, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, and Crime Stoppers were successful in linking together several homicides and violent crimes in the Baton Rouge area. The investigations resulted in the arrest of 19 individuals on state charges and 7 individuals on federal charges, one of which was nationally 3

4 acclaimed rap artist Torrence Lil Boosie Hatch. Hatch was subsequently indicted in June 2010 in a suspected murder-for-hire scheme in October He and others may also be involved in at least five other murders in the area since Description Scanning In 2009, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported in Crime in the U.S. that there were 75 homicides committed in the City of Baton Rouge and 11 homicides were committed in unincorporated areas of East Baton Rouge Parish. The city was ranked 5 th in the nation per capita for murders (33.6 murders per 100,000 inhabitants). The average murder rate for Group II cities (100,000 to 249,000) was 6.6 murders per 100,000 inhabitants (Appendix 1). The murder rate in the City of Baton Rouge was 5.1 times the average murder rate for cities of comparable size and 5.7 times the national average in Preliminary statistics reported by the FBI for 2010 indicated 69 homicides in the city and 9 homicides in unincorporated areas of the parish. The city was once again ranked 5 th in the nation per capita for murders (30.1 murders per 100,000 inhabitants). In addition to one of the highest murder rates in the country, Baton Rouge citizens are faced with high instances of violent crime, including forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. In 2009, the FBI reported the violent crime rate in Baton Rouge was 1,264.9 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants (Appendix 1), which is 2.2 times the average violent crime rate for cities of comparable size and 2.4 times the national average. The growing homicide and violent crime problem in the Baton Rouge area was widely recognized by federal, state, and local law enforcement, state and local government, and the media. Most importantly, citizens in the Baton Rouge area feared for their safety and the safety of their families, as well as, the 4

5 diminished quality of life in the area. The keys to success in the Hatch investigation led law enforcement in the Baton Rouge area to realize the need for a drastic change in law enforcement tactics and response: 1. Co-location of investigators Enhanced information sharing and rapid dissemination of information 2. Pooling of resources from all agencies involved BRPD and EBRSO Firearms Examiners and Forensic Scientists permanently assigned to the LSP Crime Lab LSP Fusion Center Access to all agencies case reports, court documents, etc. Assistant District Attorney assigned to the task force for ease of warrant preparation 3. Centralized clearing house for intelligence, tips, and interviews Analysis Each federal, state, and local law enforcement agency in the Metropolitan Baton Rouge area has its own methods of analyzing crime problems. Specifically, the Baton Rouge Police Department, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff s Office, Louisiana State Police, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives utilize crime mapping, graphs, community interaction, and statistics to develop and deploy crime planning solutions for their respective agencies (Appendices 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6). The statistical data revealed the incidents of homicide and other violent crime in the Baton Rouge area were increasing yearly. The data revealed the majority of homicides and other violent crimes were committed in North Baton Rouge and the Gardere area, both of which are economically lower class areas. Intelligence data also indicated the increase in homicides and other violent crimes was due to a high number of repeat violent offenders and the formation of loosely formed criminal gangs. The statistical information has been disseminated to law enforcement personnel for deployment of proactive enforcement strategies. The Baton Rouge Police Department and East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff s Office have incorporated 5

6 community-oriented policing strategies in these neighborhoods in the past. Both agencies have districts or substations established in the neighborhoods to provide greater service to the public. Both agencies have also used statistical data to effectively allocate manpower to those districts by day of week and time of day. Intelligence Analysts at the Louisiana State Police Fusion Center regularly provide bulletins, reports, and hot sheets to federal, state, and local law enforcement in the Baton Rouge area in an effort to efficiently disseminate information. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives has also provided statistical and intelligence information to state and local law enforcement in the Baton Rouge area by pinpointing the location of all gun crimes. The information is disseminated to each agencies Patrol, Detectives, Narcotics, and Intelligence Divisions. Through collaboration with community, business, and religious leaders and academia, law enforcement in Baton Rouge has identified several factors related to the rise in violent crime problem in the area: Low and Low/Middle Economic Class Single-parent households Unemployment Truancy Gang activity Recidivism Response Because of the success of the Hatch investigations and positive responses from the citizens of the Baton Rouge area, agency heads began to formulate a plan for a long-term solution to combating the area s murder rate and incidents of violent crime. On October 29, 2010, East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Melvin Kip Holden, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, BRPD Chief of Police Jeff LeDuff (ret.), State Police Superintendent Colonel Michael Edmonson, District Attorney Hillar Moore, ATF Resident Agent- 6

7 in-charge Milton Bonaventure, and Crime Stoppers Executive Director Sid Newman finalized their vision for an unprecedented, long-term partnership among law enforcement agencies: Establish the East Baton Rouge Violent Crimes Unit (EBR-VCU) Unit chosen over Task Force because of the long-term nature of the endeavor Focused on all violent crimes in East Baton Rouge Parish Co-locate investigators from the six agencies at Louisiana State Police Headquarters in Baton Rouge Equitable sharing of funding for the project between the agencies for upgrades to: Squad Room Perimeter Offices Interview Rooms Building Security Allocation of Personnel: LSP 18 (CID Region 1 Baton Rouge Field Office and one Intelligence Analyst) BRPD EBRSO ATF District Attorney 31 (Homicide and Major Assaults Divisions) 12 (Homicide Division) 8 (Metro Gun Task Force) 3 (One Assistant District Attorney and two Investigators) Crime Stoppers 2 In the ensuing four months, project managers planned and coordinated moving 56 members of the EBR- VCU into Louisiana State Police Headquarters. On January 26, 2011 the EBR-VCU became operational as a full-time unit. On the same day, Governor Bobby Jindal declared the Baton Rouge area the focus of his Criminal Hot Spot Initiative (Appendix 7). The initiative called for federal, state, and local law enforcement, as well as, the community to work together to fight escalating crime in local areas. Governor Jindal 7

8 authorized the use of increased resources from the State Police Crime Lab and Fusion Center, including: Providing real-time forensic results from the Crime Lab for high priority EBR-VCU cases Developing procedures for accepting EBR-VCU evidence more quickly into the Crime Lab Addition of an ATC Ballistics Examiner position co-located at the Crime Lab Installation of the newest technology from the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN) by the ATF at no cost to the State of Louisiana Access for EBR-VCU Investigators to the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) through the Fusion Center Full-time analytical support from the Fusion Center Governor Jindal stated there was not only a need but a demand from the community for the type of law enforcement approach developed by the EBR-VCU. The Governor and other law enforcement agency heads in the Baton Rouge area stressed the importance of communication among agencies, pooling of resources, sharing of knowledge, and the rapid dissemination of information necessary for successful investigation of crimes, and the apprehension and prosecution of those responsible. Mission Statement The mission of the East Baton Rouge Violent Crimes Unit (EBR-VCU) is to protect life, ensure safety, and quickly bring to justice offenders who inflict violence within the city of Baton Rouge and parish of East Baton Rouge. This will be accomplished through the efficient use of joint local, state, and federal assets via co-location of unit members that will facilitate open communication, collaboration, and swift dissemination of information. Our mandate is to do so with honor and integrity, while at all times conducting ourselves with the highest ethical standards to maintain public confidence. 8

9 Goals, Objectives, and Strategies Goal I. I. Ensure a safe environment for the citizens of the City of Baton Rouge and the Parish of East Baton Rouge. Objective I.1 I.1 Reduce the number of murders by 15% by Strategies I.1.1 Share statistical information with each agency s Patrol Division to facilitate evidence-based, proactive patrols in high crime areas. I.1.2 Provide a deterrent to murder by increasing arrests, search warrants, case clearance rates and prosecution rates. I.1.3 I.1.4 Utilize the Targeting Violent Offender Program (TVOP) to reduce recidivism rates. Partner with civic, religious, and school groups to develop solutions to violent crime issues. Objective I.2 I.2 Reduce the number of violent crimes by 15% by Strategies I.2.1 Share statistical information with each agency s Patrol Division to facilitate evidence-based,, proactive patrols in high crime areas. I.2.2 Provide a deterrent to violent crime by increasing arrests, search warrants, case clearance rates and prosecution rates. I.2.3 I.2.4 Utilize the Targeting Violent Offender Program (TVOP) to reduce recidivism rates. Partner with civic, religious, and school groups to develop solutions to violent crime issues. 9

10 Objective I.3 I.3 Increase violent crime case clearance rates by 20% by Strategies I.3.1 Coordinate and collaborate with all members of the EBR-VCU and other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies for resource sharing and open communication. I.3.2 I.3.3 I.3.4 Utilize HSIN for information sharing within the EBR-VCU. Conduct regular briefings with key leadership of the EBR-VCU. Coordinate with LSP Crime Lab Forensic Scientists to prioritize evidence submitted for analysis. I.3.5 Increase education and public awareness of the Crime Stoppers program by providing informational avenues to report criminal activity. Goal II. II. Enhance the capabilities of the EBR-VCU through the effective use of resources and the acquisition of new technology. Objective II.1 II.1 Increase funding of the EBR-VCU by 40% by Strategies II.1.1 Seek funding through grants from the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Office of Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS), the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement (LCLE), et al. II.1.2 Seek funding from private sources such as foundations, civic organizations, and private citizens. II.1.3 Seek funding from the Louisiana Congressional Delegation through congressional earmarking. 10

11 Objective II.2 II.2 Improve the overall technological capacity of the EBR-VCU by 5% every year for three years. Strategies II.2.1 Form a Technology Committee comprised of representatives from each EBR-VCU member agency to evaluate new technologies and make recommendations for the purchase of new equipment. II.2.2 Coordinate with the LSP Crime Lab to evaluate new forensic technology and make recommendations for the purchase of new equipment. II.2.3 II.2.4 Seek upgrades to the Shot Spotter and License Plate Reader camera systems. Continue to develop the EBR-VCU portal to HSIN for increased information sharing and reporting capabilities. II.2.5 Coordinate with the 19th Judicial District to facilitate electronic warrant submission, review, and approval. Each agency represented in the EBR-VCU is working both independently within its own organization and collectively as a member of the EBR-VCU. For example, each agency head conducts bi-weekly meetings with Division Commanders to discuss crime trends, enforcement activities, and crime planning solutions in their jurisdictions, including the use of crime mapping, graphs, and statistical analysis (Appendix 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6). The statistical information is disseminated to law enforcement personnel for deployment of proactive enforcement strategies. In turn, information is provided from the Patrol, Intelligence, and Narcotics Divisions back to the EBR-VCU through enforcement activity briefings, hot sheets, and arrest logs. Key leadership within the EBR-VCU also have weekly meetings to discuss significant activities, cases, and to share information. To further enhance information sharing within the unit, the EBR-VCU Case Synopsis Report was developed (Appendix 8). A Case Synopsis report is completed in the initial phase of each case by the 11

12 officer(s) involved in the investigation. The report is forwarded to each member of the EBR-VCU for review via secure . The report provides case information to all members of the EBR-VCU so any information received can be quickly disseminated to the investigating officer(s). The report has also been integrated into the EBR-VCU portal in HSIN for data collection and analysis. Assessment A Baton Rouge newspaper, The Advocate, reported one example of the collaborative spirit of the EBR-VCU only two weeks after becoming operational. On February 12, 2011, in her article Violent Crime Unit Wins Praise in Case, Advocate Staff Writer Kimberly Vetter reported the work of the EBR-VCU was instrumental in solving a double-homicide within 48 hours. The investigation into the slayings of Jarret Stanley and Latonya Wright involved every agency represented in the EBR-VCU, and included the assistance of the United States Marshal s Service who arrested one suspect in the Lake Charles area. Vetter also reported one key facet to the investigation was the public s assistance in providing tips to Crime Stoppers regarding the location of bodies, and the identity and location of one of the suspects. A major objective of the EBR-VCU is to increase case clearance rates by 20% over the next three years. In 2010, the homicide case clearance rate was 51.3% for the Baton Rouge Police Department and 77.8% for the East Baton Rouge Sheriff s Office. According to Baton Rouge Police Department and East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff s Office statistics, as of April 14, 2011, there have been 19 homicides committed in the City of Baton Rouge and 8 homicides committed in unincorporated areas of East Baton Rouge Parish. The homicide case clearance rates are 57.8% and 87.5%, respectively, during the same time period. All members of the EBR-VCU will continuously strive to deploy the strategies developed for meeting the unit s objectives and attaining the goals presented to ensure safety and security for the citizens of the City of Baton Rouge and the Parish of East Baton Rouge. Each agency head is dedicated to the personnel assigned to the EBR-VCU to provide the best resources available to combat the violent crime problem in the Baton Rouge 12

13 area. Governor Jindal, Mayor-President Holden, the Louisiana Legislature, and the Baton Rouge Metro Council are committed to provide support to federal, state, and local law enforcement in this endeavor. The formation of a long-term violent crimes unit is an unprecedented venture in the United States. The success of the EBR-VCU will serve as a model program for other cities, counties, and states across the nation when formulating their plans to fight crime. 13

14 Agency and Officer Information Key Project Team Members: Captain Rudy Babin, East Baton Rouge Violent Crime Unit Commander, Baton Rouge Police Department Lieutenant Ike Vavasseur, Homicide Unit Commander, Baton Rouge Police Department Lieutenant Todd Weisher, Crime Stoppers Unit Commander, Baton Rouge, Police Department Captain Todd Morris, Homicide Unit Commander, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff s Office Major Layne Barnum, Command Inspector, Support Services, Louisiana State Police Captain James McGuane, Director, Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory Lieutenant Paul Edmonson, Criminal Investigations Division, Louisiana State Police Lieutenant Mark Richards, Criminal Investigations Division, Louisiana State Police Lieutenant Trevor Smith, Criminal Investigations Division, Louisiana State Police Special Agent Michael Desmond, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives, Baton Rouge Field Office Project Contact Person: Lieutenant Mark Richards, Executive Officer Louisiana State Police, Criminal Investigations Division 7919 Independence Boulevard, Box A-2 Baton Rouge, LA Office: Fax:

15 The mission of the East Baton Rouge Violent Crimes Unit (EBR-VCU) is to protect life, ensure safety, and quickly bring to justice offenders who inflict violence within the city of Baton Rouge and parish of East Baton Rouge. This will be accomplished through the efficient use of joint local, state, and federal assets via co-location of unit members that will facilitate open communication, collaboration, and swift dissemination of information. Our mandate is to do so with honor and integrity, while at all times conducting ourselves with the highest ethical standards to maintain public confidence. 15

16 Appendices Appendix 1 Table: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the U.S Appendix 2 Crime Map: Baton Rouge Police Department Crime Planning Maps 4/11 4/17/11. Appendix 3 Graph: Baton Rouge Police Department Crime Planning Maps 4/11 4/17/11. Appendix 4 Chart: Baton Rouge Police Department Homicides by Quarter Appendix 5 Chart: Baton Rouge Police Department Violent Crimes by Month Appendix 6 Crime Map: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff s Office Homicide Map Appendix 7 Appendix 8 Press Release: Governor Jindal Announces Criminal Hot Spot Initiative To Crack Down on Crime & Additional Penalties for Human Trafficking, January 26, EBR-VCU Case Synopsis. 16

17 Rate: Number of Crimes per 100,000 Inhabitants By Population Group, 2009 Population Group Violent Crime Number of Offenses Rate Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter Number of Offenses Rate TOTAL CITIES 999, , GROUP II (100,000 to 249,999) 166, , Baton Rouge, LA (pop. 223,187) , Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the U.S EAST BATON ROUGE VIOLENT CRIMES UNIT Appendix 1 17

18 Appendix 2 Baton Rouge Police Department Crime Planning Maps 4/11 4/17/11 Zones 2C1 and D1 Source: Baton Rouge Police Department,

19 Source: Baton Rouge Police Department, 2011 EAST BATON ROUGE VIOLENT CRIMES UNIT 19

20 1st Quarter 99 3rd Quarter 1st Quarter 00 3rd Quarter 1st Quarter 01 3rd Quarter 1st Quarter 02 3rd Quarter 1st Quarter 03 3rd Quarter 1st Quarter 04 3rd Quarter 1st Quarter 05 3rd Quarter 1st Quarter 06 3rd Quarter 1st Quarter 07 3rd Quarter 1st Quarter 08 3rd Quarter 08 1st Quarter 09 3rd Quarter 09 1st Quarter 10 3rd Quarter 10 Count EAST BATON ROUGE VIOLENT CRIMES UNIT Quarterly Homicides Homicides by Quarter to Date Second quarter 2010 homicides were the highest on record Source: Baton Rouge Police Department, 2011 Appendix 4 20

21 Side by Side Monthly Comparison Violent Offenses While September 2010 was high, it was not exceptional when compared to past years. 0 JAN FEB MAR APRIL MAY JUNE JULY AUG SEPT OCT NOV DEC Source: Baton Rouge Police Department, 2011 EAST BATON ROUGE VIOLENT CRIMES UNIT Appendix 5 21

22 Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff s Office 2011 EAST BATON ROUGE VIOLENT CRIMES UNIT Appendix 6 22

23 Appendix 7 23

24 24

25 25

26 26

27 Appendix 8 27

28 28

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